The Neapolis

The Greek Theatre of Syracuse

The most impressive and fascinating historical memory of Syracuse resides in its Greek Theatre. Dug into the rock of the Temenite Hill, it has been a monument of exceptional formal beauty from antiquity to the present day. Its original layout, by the architect Damokopos , dates back to the 5th century BC. The structure underwent numerous renovations between the 4th and 3rd centuries BC, during the tyranny of Hiero II and afterwards in Roman times.
In this still deeply evocative place, the greatest artists of ancient Greece gave voice to their plays.
Among them was  Aeschylus , the father of Greek dramaturgy, who performed two tragedies in the theatre of Syracuse: Women of Aetna and The Persians.
In its archaic form, the theatre did not have a semi-circular layout, which became customary during the 3rd century BC, but was formed of straight steps arranged in a trapezoid. It was the tyrant Hiero II who moulded the theatre into the morphology that can still be partly observed today.
The cavea had a diameter of 138 metres, one of the largest in the Greek world, and consisted of 67 flights of steps carved into the living rock and divided by the steps into 9 segments called cunei.
Halfway up ran the diazoma, a ring-shaped corridor that divided the cavea into several sectors. On the walls of the diazoma there were significant engraved dedications: the central cuneus was dedicated to Zeus, while the cunei on the left were dedicated to other deities; on the right were areas dedicated to members of the royal family.
The orchestra , where the choir performed, could be accessed from two side corridors (parodoi) in front of the stage . Below the orchestra there was a secret passage, Charon's Staircase , a flight of steps used for surprise appearances.
Veduta Teatro Greco Parodoi Teatro Greco
Even today the theatre maintains its identity: it is one of the greatest international stages in classical tragedy. The Greek Theatre of Syracuse is perceived as a buzzing element of life and not a tomb of lost values. Its structure is a timeless art form, as well as a fascinating ruin to be contemplated with the picturesque sentiment of travellers of the past.

foto narrante : Il teatro greco di Siracusa
Il teatro greco di Siracusa colpisce subito per la sua maestosità, esso era infatti uno dei teatri più importanti del mondo antico. La càvea, il luogo dove gli spettatori prendevano posto, è scavata sul pendio di una collina. Essa presenta la forma di un semicerchio ed è formata da 67 file di gradini divise in 9 settori, chiamati “cunei”, dedicato ad una divinità o ad un membro della famiglia reale. Durante la rappresentazioni era presente un coro, un gruppo di personaggi che danzavano e cantavano in uno spazio semicircolare chiamato “orchestra”. L’orchestra si trova alla base della càvea e si frappone tra gli spettatori disposti sulle gradinate e la scena. Sul fondo dell’orchestra si colloca la scena, uno spazio riservato alla recitazione degli attori. Ai lati dell’orchestra sono ancora presenti due gallerie, chiamate parodòi, i corridoi che anticamente permettevano l’accesso del coro.

The Church of San Giovanni alle Catacombe

The cultural significance of tragedy

Neapolis from past to present

The architecture of the Piazza

Ortygia. Venus rising from the waters of the port

Roman Syracuse, a military power thanks to the genius of Archimedes

The Spanish fortification

The Greek Theatre of Syracuse

Where seas and civilisations meet

The Gladiator performances

Temple of Apollo

The Dionysian Walls: a masterpiece of Greek engineering

King Hyblon’s kingdom: Pantalica, between history and legend

The Jews, a wandering people

Inside the Cathedral of Ortygia

Piazza del Duomo, a sacred place of the ancient Greeks

The Museion and the Grotta del Ninfeo

Castello Maniace

The Senatorial Palace

The Venationes

Traces of Christianity in Syracuse

Pantalica: where nature and history merge

The functions of Castello Maniace

The Church of St. Lucia to the Abbey

The Cathedral of Syracuse

The Euryalus Fortress

The Culture of Pantalica

Byzantine Pantalica

Syracuse during the tyranny of Dionysius

The Roman Amphitheatre

The Athenaion of the tyrant Gelon

Crypt of San Marciano

Legends and magic echoes in the Latomie of Syracuse

Giudecca, the hidden Jewish heart of Syracuse

The catacombs of San Giovanni

The Ear of Dionysius and the Grotta dei Cordari

The Altar of Hieron II: Blood and fire place